2011 International Book List: Murray Brewster

By: /
2 January, 2012
By: System Administrator

Questions for Author Murray Brewster:

1. What is the best international affairs book you have read in 2011 (Canadian or otherwise?)

A Season in Hell by Robert Fowler really spoke to me, as much as my own work. Aside from the riveting account of his kidnapping, I caught a distinct wind of warning blowing between the lines – both about al-Qaida’s influence and the future of Africa. 

2. What was the biggest international event of 2011?

The Arab Spring, taken collectively, was by far the most important international event. For better or worse, the consequences will be with us for decades to come and will likely pre-occupy foreign policy-making in Ottawa for the next 10 years. 

3. Who was the biggest international influencer of 2011?

Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor, whose single act of protest unleashed history.

4. Who was the biggest Canadian international influencer of 2011?

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird presented Canada’s new, more rock-jawed face to world in 2011 and is quietly, but fundamentally, reshaping the country’s foreign policy. 

5. What was Canada’s best international moment of 2011?

The end of the combat mission in Kandahar was the best, perhaps the most under-rated moment. The country’s principled decision to exit was conducted with a measure of dignity and grace that stood in stark contrast to the over-the-top, political celebration of the Libya campaign.

6. What was Canada’s worst international moment of 2011?

The Vancouver hockey riot made the country look ridiculous, but the breathless, wall-to-wall television coverage of the event in the subsequent days and weeks compounded the impression.

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 


Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

Become a Supporter